Behind the scenes

129 Posts
The Dangers of being a Musical Prodigy Vanessa Mae: Slapped around by Tiger Mum
The “Tiger mom phenomenon,” a term coined by Yale law professor Amy Chua in 2011, describes an age-old system of strict authoritarian motherly control that is supposed to propel children towards excellence. Advocates suggest that it produces an exceptionally high
Read more
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
Alfred Brendel and Paul Lewis
Playing Schubert with no Middleman
Famously, Paul Lewis grew up in a home in Liverpool where the most sophisticated musical device was a small electronic organ. Both parents had little interest in music, only “occasionally, my dad would play one of his John Denver record.”
Read more
Finding a New Light Source: Funding Lumen de Lumine
How do you get a record of new choral music made? In these days of austerity and penny-pinching, you need to be innovative. At the same time, in these days of social media and the power of networking, new avenues
Read more
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
Alfred Brendel and Imogen Cooper
Demonic Intensity
Imogen Cooper proudly announced at the age of 5 that she wanted to be a pianist. Her father, the noted musicologist Martin Cooper, warned her about the perils of becoming a performing artist. “I had no idea what it all
Read more
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
He set the Piano Stool on Fire!
Alfred Brendel and Kit Armstrong
On rare occasions, musical aptitude strikes without warning. I am pretty sure that’s what the British-Taiwanese parents of Kit Armstrong must have been thinking when their son, age 5, and without access to a piano, taught himself musical composition by
Read more
The Dangers of being a Musical Prodigy
Lang Guoren: Ordering his son to commit suicide
Lang Lang is arguably the most famous Chinese pianist of all time. He certainly is a cultural icon with the popularity and charisma of many leading rock musicians. Yet the path to this kind of superstardom came at a steep
Read more
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
Hu Weimin and Ning Feng
Overcoming the “Pinkie” rejection
Audiences and critics are usually ecstatic when Ning Feng picks up the 1721 Stradivari violin known as “MacMillan.” Born in Chengdu and currently residing in Berlin, Feng has “developed a reputation as an artist of great lyricism and emotional transparency,
Read more
Edward Elgar: Dreaming of Blue Knickers
It’s always been fashionable to emphasizing artistic greatness at the expense of some more down-to earth-human qualities. Mozart wrote exceptional music but he also wrote scatological letters to his cousin. Wagner gave us the Artwork of the Future and a
Read more